UNLV completes sweep over Wolf Pack
For the Nevada Appeal
RENO – Gary Powers wants his Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team to have a short memory.
“What we need them to do now is to forget the first nine games,” said Powers after a 5-0 loss to the UNLV Rebels at Peccole Park on Sunday left the Pack at 0-9 to start the season. “We can’t do anything about those nine games now. Those games are over.”
The Wolf Pack is now mired in its worst start to a season since the 1989 team also opened 0-9. The Pack will try to avoid being the first team in the Powers’ era (since 1983) to open 0-10 when they travel to UC Davis on Tuesday.
“The good thing is we only have to wait two days for another opportunity to go out and get a win,” outfielder Brock Stassi said.
UNLV made history on Sunday, becoming the first team to shut out the Wolf Pack twice in the same series at Peccole Park in the history of the 24-year-old stadium. The Rebels beat the Pack 9-0 on Friday and 10-6 on Saturday and completed the three-game sweep on Sunday.
“We’ve spent too much time dwelling on the negative,” Powers said. “It has ruined our mindset. Now the only thing we have to worry about is coming out here and doing something positive as individuals and for the team. That’s the only thing we can control now. We can’t change what has happened the first nine games.”
UNLV, now 11-2, jumped on Wolf Pack starter Mark Joukoff for four runs in the top of the first inning on four hits and a walk. Rance Roundy, who went 10-for-11 in the three games this weekend, keyed the inning with a two-run single. Roundy went 3-for-3 on Sunday, adding a double in the fifth inning and a solo home run in the eighth.
“He (Roundy) is carrying them right now,” Powers said.
The Wolf Pack has been outscored 23-0 in the first inning this year and has yet to get a lead in any game.
“My summer league team went through a nine-game losing streak last summer,” Stassi said. “And it felt like we were never going to win another game all summer. But once we won a game we got on a roll and had a pretty good summer. This team can do the same this year.”
The Pack had opportunities to get back in the game.
Stassi reached first on an error and Hugo Hernandez singled with no outs in the third. Nick Melino, then lined softly into a double play to shortstop as Hernandez was caught off first. Brian Barnett grounded out to third to end the inning.
Singles by Barnett and Joe Kohan and a walk to Braden Shipley loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. UNLV, though, got out of the jam by getting Jamison Rowe to bounce out to the mound and Garrett Yrigoyen to roll out to short.
Stassi walked and Hernandez singled to open the Wolf Pack eighth. Melino then worked a 3-0 count before grounding into a double play on a 3-2 pitch. Barnett ended the inning by flying out to center.
“That’s what happens when your mindset is all wrong,” Powers said. “We got our opportunities but when those opportunities come up we weren’t ready for them because we were dwelling on the negative.”
Joukoff pitched well after the first inning. The junior right-hander lasted six innings and struggled with his control (five walks) but he allowed just those four first-inning runs on seven hits.
“But that is the same inning (the first) that has killed us all year,” Powers said. “Unfortunately, when a team is snake bit like this team is right now, that’s tough to overcome.”
Powers said the Wolf Pack needs to simplify things.
“We have to go back to the basics and get the fundamentals right,” Powers said. “We have to take things pitch by pitch, inning by inning.”